By Dawn Lee Tu
Daniel Henney says he works hard and doesn’t complain, and I absolutely believe him. Take, for example, his projects since the start of the year (I cannot begin to guess how many miles Daniel Henney’s racked up on his frequent flier accounts!). Since the start of the year, he was spotted in New York City during Fashion Week to see the Coach 2016 Collection, and he’s all over Korea with his spread for Cosmopolitan Korea and Harper’s Bazaar Korea and ads for Hamilton watches (Henney is the 2016 ambassador), plus new ads for Wide Angle (a golf line). He’s also a spokesperson for the educational language company Malpool. It has been a busy first two months of 2016 for Henney!
Henney’s longtime fans know that he’s been in the modeling and acting game for a while. Most known for his roles in Korean dramas, Henney broke into television in 2005 as Dr. Henry Kim in My Lovely Sam Soon. In 2009, Americans were first introduced him in his role as Agent Zero, starring alongside Hugh Jackman, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In total, Henney’s acting and modeling career has spanned over a decade and includes nine full-length films, eight television shows, over 25 sponsorships/commercials/advertisements, and countless modeling projects. Soon, Henney will be adding another American television show to his portfolio, in his new role as Matt Simmons in Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (CMBB), set to premiere on March 16th on CBS.
Henney took a moment out of his busy day to talk to me about CMBB and other fun things.
Congrats on your work on CMBB! How is CMBB different than CM? What can newcomers and fans of CM look forward to?
There are a lot of things that are different but we wanted to keep the same formula and model that CM established because they’ve done so incredibly well. We would be foolish not to follow what they’ve done. Continue Reading »
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I first heard of Netflix’s television series “Master of None” last November when listening to Terry Gross’s Fresh Air program’s fantastic interview with Indian American Aziz Ansari and Taiwanese American co-creator and co-writer Alan Yang.
When Season 1 was released, I quickly binged watch the series and really loved it, especially the one most relevant to the Asian American experience – Episode 2, “Parents.” Master of None has recently been renewed for Season 2 (coming in 2017)
This year at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Festival 2016 (“CAAMFest”), when I saw that there was going to an interview with co-creater Alan Yang and cast member Kelvin Yu (who happen to both be Taiwanese Americans) on Saturday, March 12th, I definitely wanted to attend and I wasn’t disappointed.
Dr. Ken, Season 1, Episode 18: “Dicky Wexler’s Last Show”
Original airdate March 11, 2016.
Symptoms: Ken’s “favorite patient,” an old-school standup comic named Dicky Wexler, approaches Ken for medical clearance so he can perform at the Friar’s Club. Despite a chart that indicates Dicky should be in the hospital, and against Julie’s advice, Ken signs the clearance. When Dicky is hospitalized soon after, Ken is forced to choose between loyalty to his friend and responsibility as physician.
In the subplots, Allison is upset over the discovery of a former patient who’s seeing someone else for treatment, and Clark is upset when he learns that the Welltopia staff has lied to him about liking the vegan food he’s recommended.
Diagnosis: In an episode like this, the subplots exist only to give the actors something to do, a decision I understand but wish the show’s producers wouldn’t find necessary. The supporting actors should understand that a strong episode makes the show better, which is better for them whether they’re in it or not. Despite the obviously extraneous subplots, the episode manages to pace itself well, and the emotional payoff is effective and earned, something that can’t be said of recent episodes. It saddens me to think about what could have been done with the minutes wasted on the Allison and Welltopia stories, because here was a plot we haven’t seen elsewhere, one that makes powerful use of Ken’s unique qualities as doctor and amateur entertainer. This is a good episode not merely because of its emotional heft, but because it’s a story that can be told only about this character.
Prognosis: I won’t pretend to understand how networks decide on series renewals, but with only three episodes left this season, I’m hoping ABC notices the recent upward trend in this show’s quality. There’s a lot of potential with this cast and these characters, and I think they’re earning themselves another year.
Rx: Truly great television series color outside the lines, and although this is a good episode, I wish it had been brave enough to swing for the fences in some line-crossing way. Without the usual constraints of the sitcom formula, what could have been done with these characters in this situation? So much more. Julie and Allison had more to offer, and some kind of exploration by Ken about how sucky (and lonely) his job is sometimes could have made the episode’s tag more than emotionally moving. It could have ripped our hearts out.
There’s no new episode of Post Show and Tell this week, but here’s an apology and explanation from host Joz Wang.
“A piano has 88 keys. Each one is different. But what if they were all the same? To find out, we took apart a piano and reengineered it so that it only plays one note: Middle C. Be together. #NotTheSame”
“The commercial features Ji playing two pianos, one of which has been tuned entirely to middle C. It’s sort of a high-concept jab at Apple and tied to Android’s slogan of “Be together, not the same.” But honestly, about the only thing that matters is Ji’s high-speed rendition of the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.””
Ji has been playing piano since he was five, and professionally for 15 years.
Fresh Off the Boat, Season 2, Episode 15: “Keep ‘Em Separated”
Original airdate March 8, 2016.
Microsynopsis: Now that he’s spending less time at the restaurant, Louis keeps intruding on Jessica’s time with Honey. To get him out of their hair, Jessica encourages Louis to get back into an old hobby: shooting pool. Louis jumps in with his usual unbridled enthusiasm, pleasing Jessica until she learns that his new partner is a woman. At school, Nicole breaks up with her boyfriend, which means she’s more available for hanging out with Eddie, but Eddie hasn’t yet told Alison that he used to have a crush on her. Alison turns out to be cool with it, but Eddie’s reaction, when he discovers that Alison used to have a crush on Dave, is not as understanding or tolerant.
Good: There are some really fun visual gags in this episode, as when one scene ends with Jessica saying that Louis “just needs a little nudge,” and the next scene begins with a shot of Louis’s pool cue nudging him in the arm. A slo-mo montage illustrating Honey’s point that “everything is sexy” when Alannah Miles’s “Black Velvet” is playing on the jukebox is pretty hilarious too.
We get a brief bit of mean Eddie, but he’s quick to see the error of his ways, and he immediately patches things up with Dave in a sweet scene in front of the ice cream truck. There must be something in the air lately, because there’s nothing especially creative, interesting, or even earned about the payoff, but dang it: I was still moved (I responded similarly to a touchy-feely moment in last week’s Dr. Ken). It’s nice when good characters recognize the goodness in each other and put a voice on it. Like almost everything else in this episode, it works for me.
Bad: I like it best when an episode’s stories are Eddie-centric and Louis-Jessica-centric, as most episodes were in the first season. The downside is less screen time for Emery and Evan. And this is really picking nits, but the episode is named after a line in everyone’s favorite Offspring song, which Walter even quotes, but the song itself is nowhere to be heard.
FOB moment: There is one strange, funny moment in Jessica’s list of rules for Louis having female friends when she slips into a very FOB inflection (the part where she talks about the lazy eye).
Soundtrack flashback: “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles (1989), “La Grange” by ZZ Top (1973), “Baby Baby” by Amy Grant (1991). And for the third time in three Denim Turtle appearances, I cannot recognize the song that’s playing when the ladies are in the bar. Also: anyone know what that song is when Louis first shoots pool? It has lyrics that sound like “Luanne,” “dance until the sun comes up,” and “…can’t stand still.”
Final grade, this episode: Boy was this a fun episode. I laughed almost all the way through. B+.
As Star Wars VIII has begun production, an interesting part of that announcement is circled in red – an Asian American will be part of the main cast! Kelly Marie Tran joins Benicio del Toro and Laura Dern as a featured actor. While Tran is listed as a newcomer, she has extensive training in well known improv groups such as Second City and a number of other roles. You can find a more detailed look at her work here and at her IMDB page.
Her role is not mentioned in the release, but I hope we see actually see her and not just through motion capture like Lupita Nyong’o. As Angry Asian Man points out, there are a number of Asian Americans in minor roles in “The Force Awakens,” but a prominent role will be new. One wonders if the addition of a Hispanic and an Asian American to the cast will prompt another boycott Star Wars as “anti-White” movement.
Star Wars Episode VIII will be released December 15, 2017.
Photo by Joanna Degeneres, IMDB
One of the things I’ve enjoyed over the years while living in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1999 is the the annual Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Film Festival, better known as CAAMFest, “Celebrating Asian American Film, Music and Food.” This year’s festival is taking place this March 10 – 20, 2016 in San Francisco & Oakland.
I’ve seen terrific movies over the years, highlights which have included Bend It Like Beckham, LINSANITY and Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority in the past, and most recently as of last year, Seoul Searching. This year’s Opening Night presentation is the Bay Area premiere of TYRUS:
“TYRUS is an inspirational documentary about the art, life, and enduring impact of 105 year-old pioneering Chinese American artist Tyrus Wong, best known for the conceptual artwork that gave Walt Disney’s Bambi its distinctive and unforgettable look.”
For more information about the festival http://caamfest.com/2016/
You can also check out the program guide here:
Be sure to buy tickets in advance if you can, since a lot of the films are often sold out.
Dr. Ken, Season 1, Episode 17: “Ken at the Concert”
Original airdate March 4, 2016.
Symptoms: Ken senses that Molly is pulling away from him, so in a bonding effort, he escorts her and her friends to an Emblem3 concert, where Molly tells him to wait in the car until the show’s over. On his way out, he meets some moms who introduce him to the mothers’ lounge, where he and his new friends trade stories about how their teenaged daughters are going through this parents-aren’t-cool phase. Dave has an accident at a birthday party, so Allison takes him to Welltopia for a tetanus booster. Dave, afraid of shots, locks himself in the exam room and refuses to come out. Damona decides to end her physical relationship with Pat.
Diagnosis: The Molly and Ken situation is a real issue that parents have to deal with, and I appreciate the attempt. The bizarre, unbelievable way it plays out, however, seems more than just slightly lazy, and Ken’s shenanigans at the concert are impossible to accept even from Ken. Yet the forced emotional payoff at the end actually somehow works, so maybe I don’t know anything. The real highlight is the interaction between Pat and Dave in Pat’s office. Just as the show appears to be taking away the relationship with Damona that makes him somewhat likeable, Pat finds the second-most unlikely character to connect with, and darn it if that doesn’t also work, against reasonable expectation. I’m tempted to say everyone got lucky with all three storylines, but it’s probably fairer to say that the cast, director, and writers cashed in on some good character development in recent episodes so that even a weak story has an effective payoff.
Prognosis: I honestly don’t know what to think. The show has built up a fair amount of goodwill for its characters, and characters are the most important thing in serial television. Is it possible that my fondness for Ken’s family and colleagues is strong enough that it doesn’t matter what the stories are anymore?
Rx: I still feel strongly that we need a really good Allison-centric story.
In this week’s Post Show and Tell, Joz Wang and her guest co-host chat about “Ken at the Concert,” leaving home to go to college, and first concert experiences. Mine was Rush in 1985 on the Grace Under Pressure tour in Honolulu, something I’m still rather proud of (and still one of my favorite shows ever). I was in tenth grade.
Mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, made history by being the first Asian American to be mayor of San Francisco (through appointment) as well as first Asian American to be elected (and re-elected) mayor of the city. San Francisco, having the largest percentage of Asian Americans of any major city in the continental U.S., these were historic milestones.
Before becoming mayor, Lee worked as the City Administrator of San Francisco for many years. Lee came to the Bay Area for law school and afterwards, worked for the Asian Law Caucus where he was an advocate for affordable housing and the rights of immigrants and renters.
But since being appoint mayor, Lee has been moving away from his progressive roots. When being considered for appointment, Lee promised not to run in the special election – but did after he realized he like the job. Since becoming mayor, Lee has seemed to be more on the side of “big business” than for the citizens of San Francisco – and has become especially unpopular by the working class being pushed out by the techies and other highly compensated professionals.
Since the “Twitter tax break” in 2011 and the recent tech boom, Lee has been associated with the gentrification of San Francisco where the cost of living has become unbearable for the working class and even those with high paying professional white collar jobs.
Those not living in San Francisco might not know that the city of San Francisco was giving essentially a $4.8 million subsidy to the NFL for not getting reimbursed for additional security, etc for Super Bowl 50 related events, thus:
“Another day, another Adele cover, amirite? Except this one comes just in time for the fictional-dystopia-in-real-life that is San Francisco during the Super Bowl: backroom deals, taxpayer-funded $4.8 million corporate playgrounds, a police-state atmosphere and dozens of homeless people swept aside for tourists. Go football!
“Hello Ed Lee,” a new video out today by singer-performance artist Candace Roberts, is an open letter to the mayor and an indictment of all of the above — with a touchdown pass of San Francisco’s untenable housing crisis thrown in for good measure.”
If you live in the area, you’ll understand all the references to the Google shuttle buses and gentrification issues. Overall, for a non-commercial Adele cover, I thought the video was well produced, but unfortunately at the time of this writing, only got over 32,000 views on YouTube.
Tila Tequila became famous for being a MySpace model and somehow turned that into a reality TV career. I had forgotten about her when this news story came out:
Here are her tweets, which seem to get progressively worse:
Every year, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors have a Chinese New Year Celebration night game – and this year was no different. Last year, along with the Celebration evening, the Warriors (along with the Houston Rockets) did debut a Chinese-themed uniforms.
The Expatriates, Janice Lee’s long-awaited second novel, poignantly captures the lives of three American women in Hong Kong. Transplanted into a new locale, they struggle with some of the cliched tropes (seeking escape, finding meaning) but also with some unexpected ones.
What do you when you’re the one responsible for a catastrophe? Who do you become? This is Mercy’s crisis, a young Korean American Columbia graduate hoping to make a new life in Hong Kong sees her life unraveling while working as a nanny. Margaret, mother to a lost child, can no longer find meaning or balance. And Hilary, a woman whose marriage has become preoccupied with trying to have a child…